The preliminaries were over for Burbank High football and it was time to get down to business in Pacific League play.
The league campaign started for the Bulldogs on the road Thursday against defending champion Arcadia.
Burbank got off to a hot start and turned that into a dominant win over the Apaches, 48-7, highlighted by a record-breaking effort from Burbank’s Ben Burnham.
“It’s nice to start off with a win, especially against the defending champs,” Burbank coach Adam Colman said. “It’s big. We knew coming in here we had to set the tone.”
Burnham had a banner night for Burbank (2-3). The senior receiver caught eight passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns. The 302 yards set a new all-time mark at Burbank for receiving yards in a single contest. The previous record was 209 yards, set by Cody Cardenaz in 2008 against Pasadena.
Making the feat all the more impressive was that Burnham did not play in the fourth quarter, which was played under a running clock.
“It was a team achievement, really,” Burnham said. “Our line blocked, the QB threw [for] a good team win.”
In the first half alone, Burnham had five receptions for 258 yards and three of his scores from 32, 89 and 63 yards, respectively.
"[Burnham] has been working as hard as he can to put us in the right spot,” Colman said. “He’s one of the most energetic kids on the field. … He got in the position to make some plays and he did. I’m proud of him.”
Burbank quarterback Aran Araradian finished 12 of 17 passing for 363 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The junior signal-caller completed his first five passes for 223 yards and two scores before he threw an incomplete pass.
Burbank jumped on Arcadia (1-3) from the opening whistle. The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on their first three possessions.
“We had a good start. It’s been a while,” Colman said. “We’ve had issues starting this year, so it was nice to get on the board quick. If you get to play with a lead it is a different game.”
The opening drive of the contest saw the visitors march 60 yards in just four plays. To cap the drive, Burnham ran a crossing route from right to left, where Araradian threw him the ball. Burnham then juked a would-be tackler and found his way into the end zone.
Aided by a sack from Lucas Ojeil, Arcadia was held without a first down and punted the ball. The next drive covered 80 yards. The big play was a 45-yard pass reception by Burnham over the middle to set the ball up one yard away from pay dirt. On the next play,senior running back Isaac Glover punched it in up the middle.
The Bulldogs then had their first of three interceptions of Arcadia quarterback Michael Hillier. It came from Carter Hensley, who snagged a tipped screen pass. Three plays later, the visitors turned the Apache miscue into points when Tyler Murphy ran the ball in from the 1-yard line standing up.
The score at the end of the first was 20-0.
With 9:11 left in the second quarter, it was time for Burnham to strike again. Araradian threw a bomb over the middle into the arms of Burnham, who sprinted the rest of the way for an 89-yard touchdown.
“The 89-yard [touchdown] felt good,” Burnham said. “My coach has been telling me I’m a little slow, so it felt good to prove him wrong.”
Arcadia scored its lone touchdown with 4:09 left before halftime after a Burbank fumble set the host up with a short field. However, Burbank answered emphatically with two more touchdowns in the final 2:22 of the half. The first was set up by an interception by Bulldog Jack Carter.
Two plays later, Glover recorded a 15-yard rushing touchdown for his second score of the game. He finished with 74 yards in 12 carries with the two touchdowns.
The final score of the first half unsurprisingly came on an Araradian-to-Burnham connection. Not content to stand pat in the final minute, Burnham caught a 63-yard touchdown pass.
Bulldogs Ian Miller intercepted a pass on the final play of the second, which resulted in a 41-7 lead at the break.
The only points of the second half came with 7:14 left in the third, as Murphy scored on a bruising nine-yard run.
Up next for the Bulldogs will be their league home opener hosting Pasadena on Sept 26.
“We break it up into three seasons: you’ve got preseason, league season and postseason,” Coleman said. “Kicking off the second season on the right note was huge for us.”
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